Southern California was rocked by a magnitude 5.3 earthquake just some 35 miles off of the coast of Channel Island Beach, on April 5 at approximately 12:30 p.m. This earthquake marks one of the largest quakes in recent Southern California history, and has made people anxious for what the future holds.
The quake, centered in the Pacific Ocean, caused some buildings in the Los Angeles area to shake. More importantly, it caused increased awareness for earthquake preparedness. Although many citizens in the Whittier area did not feel the effects of the quake, the news of the event spread fast.
Students have begun to prepare themselves for the “Big One,” an earthquake that is supposed to rock all of Southern California. Southern California has not experienced a large earthquake in quite some time. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Southern California’s most recent mega-quake was in 1857, [and was] estimated to be magnitude 7.8.” It is only a matter of time before Southern California is hit by another high magnitude earthquake.
Whittier students whose homes are located near the shorelines felt the effects of the earthquake. “I usually don’t care that much about earthquakes because they happen all the time here,” said first-year Emma Romero. Romero’s mother, a teacher in El Segundo, California, felt the quake while she was teaching class. Romero’s mother texted her and her sister, “Earthquake!” to which Romero was greatly confused. After checking the news, however, she saw that there had in fact been an earthquake.
Although earthquakes are quite common for locals, they remain a foreign experience to many out-of-state students. “[The earthquake was] kind of weird to hear about, since all we ever hear about in Florida are warnings about crazy storms or hurricanes,” said first-year Amelia Gregorio, who came to Whittier College from Florida. “It was a change to hear about the ground shaking.” Gregorio was disappointed that she missed an opportunity to experience a real California earthquake.
When asked how to prepare for an earthquake, a second-year student who requested to remain anonymous said, “This earthquake scare has definitely made me realize that the reality of dangerous earthquakes are a thing here. I knew we had earthquakes, but now I’m keeping a safety bag containing water and food for five days, matches, and other survival tools handy at all times.” First-year Noa Cravens said, “[I am] ready to move to a safer state if it comes to it.”
While moving to a safer state may sound like a simple fix to the earthquake problem, the best way to stay safe when the ground starts shaking is to prepare yourself with a plan of action and with the tools to survive when a quake hits. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an earthquake kit should consist of a first aid kit, survival kits for the home, automobile, and workplace, and emergency water and food. Store enough supplies to last at least three days.
It is safe to place a kit in the glove compartment in your car and in an easily accessible place in your home for any emergencies. Although you may never need to use the kit, it is always helpful to be prepared.
California has been awaiting a massive earthquake for some time now. While this was not it, some Whittier students are taking it as a warning and preparing for when it comes.